God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

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God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Sat Dec 11, 2010 4:31 pm

I have something that I'm wanting to discuss, but first, for those who are well versed in the Bible and of God, . . . is it possible for God to "sin"?
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by John T Mainer on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:25 pm

Since sin is defined as acting against the will of God, it is not possible for him to sin. He can (and many would argue often has) act shamefully, but as long as it is his will, there can be no sin. If that doesn't have some scary implications I don't know what could.

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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Davelaw on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:29 pm

or sin is following short of God's righteousness

so, God is the definition and therefore can not sin

if God could sin: there something greater than God that God has to answer to-thats gnosticism-which posits that the God we know is a created being: a demi-urge
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:31 pm

This is a monotheistic koan, right? Wink [Koan--essentially unanswerable question generally used to focus meditation, the most famous of which is, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?"]

Okay, I'll bite nevertheless.

I'd say that it is technically impossible for God (presuming we mean the deity of the three major monotheistic faiths, Islam, Judaism and Christianity) to sin since the very simple definition of sinfulness I was taught as a child is doing anything displeasing to God. I suppose that God might possibly feel obliged to do some displeasing things, but since God is deemed all-powerful, God could presumably do anything desired and would only be violating hir own rules or laws.

Could we legitimately maintain that God is all-powerful if God is limited by laws and rules established by God?

Since most of God's laws appear to have been levied to regulate human behavior, I doubt that they apply to God.

Seems somewhat nonsensical as a result to maintain that God could sin.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:34 pm

John T Mainer wrote:He can (and many would argue often has) act shamefully, but as long as it is his will, there can be no sin. If that doesn't have some scary implications I don't know what could.

Heartily agreed and an excellent point, John.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Davelaw on Sat Dec 11, 2010 6:38 pm

I think I know where this is going so let me add this analogy:
A farmer would never want his herd to kill each other; but if he wants to harvest the whole herd -its his perogative.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:05 pm

I maintain that "harvest" is hardly an appropriate term for deciding to kill entire cities of people simply because God had decided they were incapable of redemption. "Harvest" means to kill in order to use the plant or animal for food ordinarily, not to annihilate a population leaving cinders or less.

Frankly, I don't regard sending bears to devour a bunch of immature boys who taunted a prophet for his baldness "harvesting" but rather petty malice.

Why this sort of thing is okay when God does it but ridiculous overkill were a person to do something of the sort frankly baffles me.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by John T Mainer on Sat Dec 11, 2010 7:41 pm

The same reason it's ok if I have my dogs balls chopped off and behead the rabbit for dinner. They are mine to use as I will. They can pray I am a worthy steward, but there is little they can do if I am not. It works within the premises offered by the Abrahamatic faiths. Not my faith, but we work off different assumptions.

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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sat Dec 11, 2010 8:29 pm

John T Mainer wrote:The same reason it's ok if I have my dogs balls chopped off and behead the rabbit for dinner. They are mine to use as I will. They can pray I am a worthy steward, but there is little they can do if I am not. It works within the premises offered by the Abrahamatic faiths. Not my faith, but we work off different assumptions.

Oh, I know that humanity's role in relation to the Abrahamic deity differs substantially from anything I'd call reasonable. As you say, dramatically different assumptions.

And I'd quibble that neutering your dog or killing a rabbit for food is at all the equivalent of things like the Great Flood or the annihilation of non-Israelite populations simply because they worshipped the wrong deities.

Human parents don't get to kill their children when the child appears to be incorrigible, so I don't understand why an all-powerful deity gets to. One would think that God could be more persuasive... (And no, thank you, I don't need a treatise on the role of free will as the explanation. I think that's a facile excuse for venerating a somewhat capricious and cruel deity...my opinion with which no one is obliged to agree in the slightest.)
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by John T Mainer on Sat Dec 11, 2010 9:53 pm

We don't get to kill our children, but if we are moving we don't have to ask anyones leave to get the cat put down and flush the whole fish tank. Assuming the gap between god and follower is that of loving parent to child is just that; an assumption. If the gap is that of farmer to cattle, then the range of perfectly reasonable and moral choices just changed, didn't it.

This is not about the God of the Bible being good or evil, this is about a diety who uses the metaphor of shepard way too much to make me think that shearing and culling are not on the menu of options. Our livestock can be cherished like children, and killed off wholesale without a second thought if the situation calls for it.

The point of view that matters in this case is the one we cannot "know" about; the God of Abraham's.

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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Sun Dec 12, 2010 1:16 pm

This topic does lead to the notion of us "being cattle/sheep", . . . useful, but comletely expendable. . . . and without a tear shed from the one slaughtering them. Lambs to the slaughter is given a new look in this way. It would seem that for US, killing another human being [non-combatants] is immoral. For this Hebrew god, it wouldn't be. So, how can a "cattle/sheep" still love the shephard?

The second part of this topic has to do with the verse that states, "god cannot be tempted by evil, nor tempts anyone". Since whatever he says . . . goes, . . . then any action he does is "his will", thus not wrong or evil. If we do similarly [like infanticide], however, it WOULD be evil.

Third part, . . . . It is said that "god is perfect", . . . and the conotation is that "god is unable to be IMperfect". He is "unable to sin". To me, . . . WE who choose our best to NOT do what is "evil" . . . are better than he/she who is incapable of it. It takes no effort if someone "can do nothing wrong". Our ability to rise above is something that god is apparently incapable of doing. Self improvement is an advanced trait.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:18 pm

DeavonReye wrote: So, how can a "cattle/sheep" still love the shephard?

And, . . . there can be no "love" for something that is so easily thrown away and disgarded. In my opinion, the definition for "love", that the bible speaks of, . . . isn't like how WE view real love. A real love doesn't make huge requirements of the other person, including their adoring worship, at the thread of violence if they don't.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:34 pm

Excellent points, Deavon. I agree.

Death wasn't as easily avoided in biblical times as it is now. Whether it came from diseases we haven't seen for decades or longer due to effective vaccines or from marauding hordes, people in biblical times were far more accustomed to unexpected and sudden death than we. They probably would have regarded the actions of a deity who decided to exterminate entire cities or ethnic groups as to be expected.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Sun Dec 12, 2010 2:52 pm

Thanks Dot. . . . I guess my point is that god is unable to know what it is to be human. Not even Jesus could fully know, since he was supposed to be god as well. Without the ability to be "tempted by sin/evil", god can never know what it means to rise above it. So, who's better? I say that humanity actually is.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:05 pm

DeavonReye wrote:Thanks Dot. . . . I guess my point is that god is unable to know what it is to be human. Not even Jesus could fully know, since he was supposed to be god as well. Without the ability to be "tempted by sin/evil", god can never know what it means to rise above it. So, who's better? I say that humanity actually is.

There was that whole 'tempation in the desert' thing.

Re: Love, Biblically speaking, God is Love. Remember, love is not the selfish 'you're no longer useful, so off with your head' thing.... love is patient. It doesn't boast or brag. Love, genuine love, never fails. And this is what God is, Biblically speaking.

Re: sheep/shepherdishness, We get much of the the shepherd-speak from King David, whose job it was to look after the sheep when he was just a little runt. And then, of course, Jesus is referred to as the 'good shepherd' - ie, protector as in 'lays down his own life to save the lives of his sheep.'

On the flip side, Jesus is also referred to, symbolically, as the Paschal Lamb.

Re: violence - I think you are referring to stories from the O.T. and, no offense, you have got to keep such stories firmly cemented in their place and time. Those were very, very violent days ... on all sides.

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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Sakhaiva on Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:11 pm

DeavonReye wrote:This topic does lead to the notion of us "being cattle/sheep", . . . useful, but comletely expendable. . . . and without a tear shed from the one slaughtering them. Lambs to the slaughter is given a new look in this way. It would seem that for US, killing another human being [non-combatants] is immoral. For this Hebrew god, it wouldn't be. So, how can a "cattle/sheep" still love the shephard?

Specifically, what are you referring to? Can you offer up textual reference to help me out?

The second part of this topic has to do with the verse that states, "god cannot be tempted by evil, nor tempts anyone".

Again, can you say where this is from?

I'll look at the quotes in context and then provide a better response to you. Thanks.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Fri Feb 18, 2011 11:17 am

I posted this a while back, but I believe I was refering to the Hebrew military campain and the instructions [which they SAY came from god] to kill everyone, including women and children. Also, the same could be said for the supposed "Noah flood event". It is like a christian, on another forum site, said, . . . comparing "those who were killed at that time being like a doctor who's patient has cancer and, therefore must kill the bad cells for the good of the body". The "bad cells" would not be wanted, . . . and that is probably why I posted here what I did. Basically, for the good of a few people, the rest [and in the case of the flood, most animals] were destroyed.

As for "god cannot be tempted", and with the "temptation of Jesus in the desert", here's my point. In order for someone to TRULY be tempted, they must have it within them to DESIRE what is being tempted to them, in other words by default, a desire to dis-obey god. For example, . . . if a man came up to me and told me that "he would give me the sexual night to remember, as it would be awesome feeling", . . . . I would never be tempted by that because it is completely against my character/nature. If a woman did the same, . . . I'd be in major trouble.

Because of this, I state that Jesus, . . . IF he was actually god and wouldn't even think of doing something against god [issues bolded is for another topic, actually], then he could not be tempted in any real way. To think he could would mean that a person must believe that Jesus was also "made to go against god but somehow overcame it". It would mean that Jesus actually would have greatly desired to be with a woman outside of the bounds god set up. If you cannot see Jesus having this desire, . . .then he couldn't be "tempted as we are".
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DotNotInOz on Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:36 pm

DeavonReye wrote:
As for "god cannot be tempted", and with the "temptation of Jesus in the desert", here's my point. In order for someone to TRULY be tempted, they must have it within them to DESIRE what is being tempted to them, in other words by default, a desire to dis-obey god.

Wait a sec, Deavon. The Devil offered Jesus something tempting to the human side of him--not having to suffer and die. I think you're forgetting that aspect of Jesus which would resist being scourged, crucified and dying as would any of us.

Because of this, I state that Jesus, . . . IF he was actually god and wouldn't even think of doing something against god [issues bolded is for another topic, actually], then he could not be tempted in any real way.

Again, I think you're selling short the extent to which Jesus's divine and human aspect might have warred within him much as our own sense of right and wrong does.

Nothing says he wouldn't think of doing something against God. Remember the lament on the cross, "Father, Father, why hast Thou forsaken me?"

It would mean that Jesus actually would have greatly desired to be with a woman outside of the bounds god set up. If you cannot see Jesus having this desire, . . .then he couldn't be "tempted as we are".

And who said he didn't find the sisters Martha or Mary hot? Then, there's that lingering legend that Mary Magdalene...well, you know.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Davelaw on Fri Feb 18, 2011 2:38 pm

Mt 4:1 Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

peirazo,
to test (objectively), i.e. endeavor, scrutinize, entice, discipline:--assay, examine, go about, prove, try.
.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

ekpeirazo,
to test thoroughly:

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.

peirasmos
a putting to proof (by experiment (of good), experience (of evil), solicitation, discipline or provocation); by implication, adversity:

Heb 2:18 For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.

Heb 4:15 For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.

all these are from the same root meaning TEST not enticement

but were you looking for this-
Jas 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:
14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.
15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Fri Feb 18, 2011 3:44 pm

Dot, I am quite sure that anyone who knew that a lot of pain was around the corner, they'd like to find a way out of it. However, what I'm talking about is when christians say "Jesus knows how hard it is for you when you want to _________[fill in the blank] because he was 'tempted in every way, yet without sin', so he can empathize". I just don't see a "perfect deity with no faults" fitting that.

Now, having said that, I am perfectly fine with a deity figure who ISN'T perfect, and who struggled [and struggles] with issues as we do, yet overcomes it. That's fine with me.

Davelaw, yes those are the verses that pertain to this subject. Thanks for posting them here.
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Davelaw on Fri Feb 18, 2011 4:33 pm

Deavon, the word perfect here means complete-spiritually mature

and I agree with DOT as to the struggle between divine and human nature
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Sakhaiva on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:09 pm

Woa I missed out on some good conversation ... let me try to catch up.

DeavonReye wrote:I posted this a while back, but I believe I was refering to the Hebrew military campain and the instructions [which they SAY came from god] to kill everyone, including women and children. Also, the same could be said for the supposed "Noah flood event". It is like a christian, on another forum site, said, . . . comparing "those who were killed at that time being like a doctor who's patient has cancer and, therefore must kill the bad cells for the good of the body". The "bad cells" would not be wanted, . . . and that is probably why I posted here what I did. Basically, for the good of a few people, the rest [and in the case of the flood, most animals] were destroyed.

You've got a couple of different story lines going here and I think it's important to avoid lumping them all together. It seems to me that - in this case - most of your criticism is directed towards Judaism (Hebrew military campaigns), not Christianity. The Hebrews were warriors, as were the surrounding nations (those were very violent days.) In understanding the Hebrew history, we have to be very careful to keep those stories cemented to the surrounding history. (I know there are some modern-day Christian movements that like to use this history to justify their own wars against humanity... but they are incorrect, prostituting history for their own power.)

Talking history again, I believe it is good to point out that the more 'warrior' minded were very much against the Jews who followed the teachings of Jesus, especially during the whole revolt period when the converts refused to do battle. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/jews.html There are very clear lines drawn in the sand between the two groups at that point in time.


As for "god cannot be tempted", and with the "temptation of Jesus in the desert", here's my point. In order for someone to TRULY be tempted, they must have it within them to DESIRE what is being tempted to them, in other words by default, a desire to dis-obey god. For example, . . . if a man came up to me and told me that "he would give me the sexual night to remember, as it would be awesome feeling", . . . . I would never be tempted by that because it is completely against my character/nature. If a woman did the same, . . . I'd be in major trouble.

Because of this, I state that Jesus, . . . IF he was actually god and wouldn't even think of doing something against god [issues bolded is for another topic, actually], then he could not be tempted in any real way. To think he could would mean that a person must believe that Jesus was also "made to go against god but somehow overcame it". It would mean that Jesus actually would have greatly desired to be with a woman outside of the bounds god set up. If you cannot see Jesus having this desire, . . .then he couldn't be "tempted as we are".

I'm not sure how the story of warriors relates to the story of temptation. Dealing with this topic on its own, the belief is that Jesus was also of the flesh, subjected to very real pain just like the rest of us. his story would have no meaning if he wasn't. The Bible lists many stories where he faced very real temptation. I'm assuming that he faced temptation on a daily basis.

(Right now I'm tempted to start parallelling Christianity and Yogic history again; I wonder if I'm too eccumenical.)

Here's a nifty link I just happened into - maybe it's been posted before and I forgot - in any case Deavon, you might enjoy the read as it compares Judaism with Christianity:

http://www.fact-index.com/c/co/comparing_and_contrasting_judaism_and_christianity.htmlJudaism & Christianity comparison
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Sakhaiva on Fri Feb 18, 2011 5:30 pm

[quote="DeavonReye"]However, what I'm talking about is when christians say "Jesus knows how hard it is for you when you want to _________[fill in the blank] because he was 'tempted in every way, yet without sin', so he can empathize".[quote]

Lines like that ruffle my feathers.









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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by DeavonReye on Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:00 pm

Why?
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Re: God/Bible scholars. Can God sin?

Post by Sakhaiva on Fri Feb 18, 2011 7:24 pm

DeavonReye wrote:Why?

It hits my ears pretty flatly - perhaps such phrases are now tainted by my experience... they strike me as pat responses with no resolution ... no authentic empathy or aid.

I know this is a very subjective answer.

Then again - at least the speaker is making an effort to comfort.

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